Saturday, March 19, 2016

My Father says, “Fear not!”

Wednesday 3-16-16 (Hotel Apart in Roldan, Santa Fe)

Scripture reading:    Deut 30 - 31   Psalm 40   1 Cor 1

S. Deut 31:7-8  "Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed."  NKJV

O. The path ahead for the Israelites was full of deadly dangers, if these people listen and obey God’s instructions, God assures them of victory.

A.  These words were written specifically for the Israelites.  Do I dare apply them to my life?  Yes, I have entered into the New Covenant with God and I can count on God’s blessing and care.  Today I drove for almost five hours and tomorrow I will be doing more of the same.  I can feel totally safe as I drive this high speed freeway.  I need have not fear. 

I know a dear Christian saint that has for many years lived in fear.  No one has ever attacked her, but she feels that some enemy is always at the door.  May the Lord teach her that He is her covering! And He is sufficient.

P.  Dear Lord, I pray for my dear friend and for others that live in fear.  Teach us to rest in Your security.  When You are in my boat, the waves may crash against the small craft, but I need not fear.  I am not alone.  Amen.


I still sing this old gospel song

No Never Alone

I’ve seen the lightning flashing,
  And heard the thunder roll;
I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing,
  Trying to conquer my soul;
I’ve heard the voice of Jesus,
  Telling me still to fight on;
He promised never to leave me,
  Never to leave me alone.

No, never alone,
  No, never alone,
He promised never to leave me,
  Never to leave me alone;
No, never alone,
  No, never alone,
He promised never to leave me,
    Never to leave me alone.

The world’s fierce winds are blowing,
  Temptations are sharp and keen;
I feel a peace in knowing
  My Savior stands between;
He stands to shield me from danger,
  When earthly friends are gone,
He promised never to leave me,
  Never to leave me alone.

When in affliction’s valley,
  I’m treading the road of care,
My Savior helps me to carry
  My cross when heavy to bear;
My feet entangled with briars,
  Ready to cast me down;
My Savior whispered His promise,
  Never to leave me alone.

He died for me on the mountain,
  For me they pierced His side,
For me He opened that fountain,
  The crimson, cleansing tide;
For me He waiteth in glory,
  Seated upon His throne;
He promised never to leave me,
  Never to leave me alone.

God’s Secrets

Tuesday 3-15-16 (La Lucila, Buenos Aires)

Scripture reading:    Deut 28-29    Gal 6

S. Deut 29:29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” NKJV

Deut 29:29 There are secrets that belong to the Lord our God.  But it has pleased Him to open up some of His treasures for us to see and understand along with our offspring so that we may live in the light of these sacred revelations and thus enjoy His blessings.  NUHV  (New Unauthorized Hiatt Version)

O.  Moses has just declared in great detail both the blessings of following God’s methods and the curses that accompany turning away from them.  His promises are glorious, but His curses horrifying.

A.  One of the courses I took at Western Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary (WCBTS, now just Western Baptist Seminary) was called “The History of Revelation.”  It was a glorious class that took us students from the first pages of Genesis to the last pages of Revelation.  There were secrets that God kept, but that He revealed in stages as time went on in Moses’ writings, in the historical books, in the poetic books, in the prophetic books and finally He sends His perfect Son to reveal Himself to us... so that we, who have opened our spiritual eyes, can “see the Father” as we look upon Jesus!  And finally we have the book of Revelation which gives us a symbolic peek into the many treasures that still remain secret, for God has reserved them for our future.

P.  Oh Lord God, Our Creator and Heavenly Father, You are so great!  I am only a limited creature of Your handiwork.  I can never fathom Your stature.  But You have chosen to reveal Yourself, first in the Old Testament and finally in Your Son Jesus, in human form, walking in the dust of this earth.  You have permitted me to hear and read His Words and by faith to choose His ways... and thus live in the brightness of Your revelation.  You have allowed me to enjoy Your blessing here on this earth and the promise of an eternity in Your presence.  I can hardly wait until You open up some of Your other secret treasures up there.  Amen.


It hurt mostly because I knew I had failed my loving daddy.

Monday 3-14-16 (La Lucila, Buenos Aires)

Scripture reading:    Deut 25-27    Gal 5

S.  Deut 25:1-3 "If there is a dispute between men, and they come to court, that the judges may judge them, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, then it shall be, if the wicked man deserves to be beaten, that the judge will cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence, according to his guilt, with a certain number of blows. Forty blows he may give him and no more, lest he should exceed this and beat him with many blows above these, and your brother be humiliated in your sight. NKJV

O.  When God set up a judicial system he did not include prisons.  If it was murder, the sentence was death.  No sentence of two years in jail for stealing a sheep or whatever.  The judge arrives at a proper sentence... how many blows.  The guilty man is apparently laid out on the floor face down and beaten with some type of a whip or rod.  But knowing how cruel, angry men might whip a man to death, Moses quotes God as placing a limit on the number of blows.  But the reason given us for the limiting of 40 lashes given here is not physical, but the possibility of humiliating or degrading the man before his peers.  Justice!  God is seeking justice.

A.  Why does our system of justice today consider two years in prison as more merciful y less heathen than a good beating that is very painful?  If applied with care it could be done with no permanent physical damage and the man is up and going again in the few days?  It is probably because beating seems cruel... and of course it is.  But it is not intended to be a dish of ice cream.  Why are parents considered cruel if they punish their children with a spanking?  It is because the tendency of many parents is to become angry with a child and release blows that are dangerous and damaging.  I believe that parents should never ever strike the child when angry, but only with tender love and with self-control.  Reasonable physical punishment can be applied on the natural pillow on their butt where there is no danger of permanent damage... only temporary pain.  And if this is done it must be done without humiliating the child before others.  I still feel that this is the most effective and the kindest way of applying discipline. 

And if I, as an adult, had stolen something of value, I think I would prefer a good healthy beating to two years in prison.  And knowing another one is coming if I were to do it again... I might take a job and start working for a living.  Okay, now you have my opinion. 

P.  Heavenly Father; Oh how cruel we can become when we lose our temper in anger!  In that state we are not fit to apply discipline.  Our judgment is warped.  Little helpless children, even babies are shaken to death or lose their hearing or eyesight.  Yes, Lord, my days of parenting are long years behind me.  May I teach Christian parents to never apply discipline while angry.  May I influence them to consistently apply the proper discipline that they feel best, but always with a huge dosage of love! 

I thank you God, for a praying, loving daddy that only had to spank me once.  He took my down in the basement and did it with a flat slat of light wood on my rump.  It hurt, but what hurt me most was that I had failed my loving daddy... and I didn’t want to ever do that again.  Amen.


My Chains are Gone!

Sunday 3-13-16 (La Lucila, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Scripture reading:    Deut 22-24    Gal 4

S.  John 8:34-36 "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” NKJV

Gal 4:4-7 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"  Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. NKJV

O.  What’s the bad news?  We all were bound as slaves to sin.  We could not free ourselves.  What’s the good news?  In due time Jesus came to set us free... and free indeed!

A.  Men will die for freedom.  It’s in our DNA.  I may strive to break the chains of sin, but I cannot.  Sin, too, is in my DNA.  That is why I need a Savior.  In due time He came... and Oh, what a Savior He is!

P.  Thank You Lord for breaking every ugly chain and setting me free.  Now I want to stay close to You... for You represent true liberty to me.  Amen.


I’m either “all in”... or He wants me “all out”!

Saturday 3-12-16 (La Lucila, Buenos Aires)     

Scripture reading for today:  Deut 19 – 21    Gal 3

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Deut 20:5-8 "Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying: 'What man is there who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.  Also what man is there who has planted a vineyard and has not eaten of it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man eat of it. And what man is there who is betrothed to a woman and has not married her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man marry her.' "The officers shall speak further to the people, and say,'What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.' NKJV

O.  Deut 20: 5-8 (reduced) “All you officers, trim your troops!”  “Listen up boys! Anybody here that has his heart elsewhere?  You would rather be with your wife and kids?  Are you thinking about your Mom’s cooking?  Were you just about to get married?  You’re thinking about your girlfriend aren’t you?  Some of you boys aren’t coming back, you know.  Does that frighten you?  Well, if so, we don’t need you!  Scram!  You are free to go home!”  NUHV

A.  Is my heart in the battle or with my kids and grandkids back home?  Well, I confess it is a tug-o-war.  I kind of feel like hugging my family now and then.  It would be nice to sit at the table with them.  But I heard my captain say, “Who can I send?  Who will go for us?”  And I raised my hand.  I said, “Over here, Lord.  Send me!” It was my choice... and it still is my choice.  And if I am going to be of any usefulness, I had better be ready to put my whole heart into it. 

P.  Oh Lord, give me an undivided heart had overflows with a passion for the lost.  You said, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62) NKJV  I get the idea that You are not looking for half-hearted workers or warriors.  You want us all in or all out.  Once in a while I need a jolt of Your Holy Spirit power to keep me marching in the right direction.  Amen.


Justified by Faith in Christ Alone

Friday 3-11-16 (La Lucila, Buenos Aires)     

Scripture reading for today:  Deut 16 – 18   Psalm 38   Gal 2

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Gal 2:16  “... even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” NKJV

O.  The Apostle Paul confronts a sect of Jewish Christians, that were insisting that the Gentiles Christians should be circumcised and, in effect, become Jews held under all their strict laws.  Paul clearly saw that the “keeping of the law” had failed to save anyone, “for all have sinned and come short of the God’s glory”. (Rom 3:23) He announces that Christ died to give us salvation and an eternal inheritance with Him, not by our futile attempts at legal perfection, but by faith in the completed sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

A.  The year was 1978.  Martin and Charlotte Jacobson arrived at Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires.  They were youth leaders in Kentucky and did not yet speak Spanish.  They were in route to Chile with a box of New Testaments in modern Spanish (Dios Llega al Hombre).  They were held up for most of an hour in customs.  One of the custom officials had opened the New Testament and read something against “keeping the law”.  But he immediately lost it again.  And now four customs officials thumbed through the New Testament trying to find it again for most of an hour with no luck.  Martin and Charlotte did not know what the problem was since they could not understand Spanish.  Finally, I talked a guard into allowing me to enter and translate for them.  When I realized what had happened, I immediately took them to Galatians chapter 2 and explained to them the meaning.  Christ Jesus liberated us for the many cumbersome Jewish laws and offered us a new life, freedom by faith, trusting in His sacrifice in our place on the cross.  We gave each of them a New Testament and they let Martin and Charlotte into Argentina with their box of books.

P.  Lord Jesus, it is no small matter that confronted the early Church.  Already Your Holy Spirit had helped their leaders to make a clear decision (Acts 15), but there arose a Jewish sect that refused to accept Your Perfect sacrifice on the cross as sufficient for salvation.  Thank You, Lord, for raising up the Apostle Paul to stand firm, even against the Apostle Peter and his own traveling companion, Barnabas, when they both changed sides when these “Judaizers” showed up.  I could never make it by keeping all those laws.  Thank you for your abundant grace.  Amen.


Morally good, but "Lost"

Thursday 3-10-16 (La Lucila, Buenos Aires)    

Scripture reading for today:  Deut 13 – 15   Gal 1

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Deut 13:1-4 "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods' — which you have not known — 'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. NKJV

O.  Today’s reading in both the Old Testament and the New Testament dealt with false prophets that would tend to lead God’s people astray.  I read the OT portion first and immediately thought of the “prophet” Joseph Smith who claimed to be led by an angel to a place where he dug and discovered golden tablets with strange writing.  Then with some miracle glasses he could read and translate these writings into his “new bible”, the Book of Mormons.  His story was never confirmed.  No one has ever seen these tablets of gold or his miracle glasses.  His “new Bible” was dictated entirely by himself.  It taught that he could have many wives which was contrary to civil laws that had been based on the New Testament Christian gospel.  So in order to have as many wives as he liked, he fled to a distant Utah and started a new religion among his many wives and children.  His converts also had many wives and children... so his doctrine multiplied quickly and today is taught to children who are encouraged to spread their “modified” doctrine world-wide... “modified” to adapt to the laws of the lands that prohibit polygamy and racial prejudice.

A.  How many thousands of good, sincere people have swallowed a story filled with a false prophet’s dreams or writings such as those written by Joseph Smith and Mohammed!  Most of these people have been taught to believe these twisted doctrines from childhood!  May God have mercy upon them!  And may I never be led astray even by an angelic being!  The Apostle Paul faced a similar problem.  False prophets were coming behind him and leading his new converts astray.  The enemy of our souls seeks out unsatisfied people to make into his “prophets”. 

P.  Lord Jesus, help me to preach only Your wonderful truth, always using Your Holy Word as my guide.  And may many people who have been led astray now hear Your message and open their hearts to You.  You are still in the business of saving the lost. The “lost” are not all drug addicts, drunkards or wicked people.  Many good moral people are “lost” in a tangle of false doctrine... promoted by some self-made “prophet or dreamer of dreams.”  Have mercy on these dear “lost” people, I pray!  Amen.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

May I be a true fan of the Lord Jesus!

Wednesday 3-9-16 (La Lucila, Buenos Aires)     

Scripture reading for today:  Deut 10 - 12   Mark 16

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Deut 11:18-21  Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.  NKJV

O.  When are the Israelites instructed to discuss religious things?  When they rise in the morning, when they sit in their house, when they walk by the way.  They are to place God’s words on their door posts and gates and to bind them on their hands and before their eyes.

A. Last weekend there was a classic Boca vs River soccer game, the two most famous rivals in Argentina.  It ended up a tie with no goals.  The next day I was having breakfast in the hotel restaurant and overheard a group of men discussing the game with great religious emphasis.  Two days later I was walking down the street and other men were still discussing the game with gestures and enthusiasm.  I noticed on TV the game was still the subject of those “talking heads” that ramble on for hours about nothing.  I thought to myself, “These men are very religious.  They are not ashamed of their idols even when they fail to make goals.”  And I felt ashamed down in my heart that I often do not discuss my Jesus, His qualities and accomplishments in public... with the same enthusiasm as these men.

P.  Lord, I remember when I was a child we had beautiful scripture plaques on almost every wall.  One was beside my bed.  I awoke each morning to its silver colored letters saying, “The Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deut 33:27) We were reminded of Your faithfulness at the table as we discussed the events of the day. Your love and Your message was a part of our daily conversation.  Lord, You warned us about allowing other gods to usurp Your priority in our lives.  Come, Lord Jesus, become again the subject of my conversation to reveal Your place of superiority in my ordinary daily life.  Amen.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

May I not forget the “Source”!

Tuesday 3-8-16 (La Lucila, Buenos Aires)     

Scripture reading for today:  Deut 7 - 9   Mark 15

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Excerpts from Deut 8:11-17 "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God...  when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them... and your silver and your gold are multiplied... when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage... who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna... then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' NKJV

Excerps: “Do not forget the Lord, Your God... when your finish an abundant meal as you sit in your new luxurious home counting your secure retirement investments... and you forget that it was the Lord that carried you through the hard years and you look at your achievements and say in your heart, “Look at this mansion that I designed and built!  By my intelligence and the sweat of my brow I have accumulated all this!”  NUHV*

O.  The Lord was warning His people of the danger of forgetting the “Source” of their blessings.

A.  I was raised in a Christian home.  I was taught Christian principles from childhood and filled with great instruction in Sunday School, church and good schools.  Then I stepped out into life and so easily could have forgotten the Source of all my many blessings.  Here I was with good health; making good decisions; rising to work with strong determination to plunge ahead and succeed at my tasks.  It would be so easy to think that I, myself, am the source of this good life.  The truth is everything good thing I have has come from my Heavenly Father. 

P.  Lord Jesus, You taught about a young man that forgot the “Source” of his blessing and wasted it all on short-term pleasures.  We can easily congratulate ourselves for being wiser than he, and forget that even our wisdom has been learned at Your feet.  Yes, Lord, I am blessed beyond measure and I recognize that ever part of that blessing has its roots in my “Source”, my Heavenly Father.  Amen.


*New Unauthorized Hiatt Version

And He added No More

Monday 3-7-16 (Colonia, Uruguay)     

Scripture reading for today:  Deut 5 - 6   Psalm 43   Mark 14

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S. Deut 5:22 "These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.”  NKJV

O.  Moses has just repeated the ten commandments.  It is interesting that although Moses wrote many laws for the Israelites related to foods, clothing, animals, sacrifices, etc... God spoke these commandments to the entire congregation of Israelites at the foot of the mountain with a loud voice... and “He added no more.”

A.  The trouble with us as religious leaders is that we sometimes want to “add more.”  One church I knew as a little child had many rules about women’s hair (a bun in the back... that we, in fun, called a “glory knot”), length of sleeve to the wrist, length of skirt to the ankle, type of shoes, color of stockings... and the men could wear whatever they wanted.  The Pharisees “added more”.  Jesus saw through their shallow “holiness” and revealed their evil hearts underneath their religious clothing.  God gave out his list of basic rules... and “He added no more.”

P.  Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to fulfill the law of Moses.  I don’t have to feel bound about what mixture of cloth I am dressed in or how many holy tassels dangle from my robe.  You wrapped up the whole law of Your Heavenly Father in a few words: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  (Matt 22:37-40)  And You added “no more”... although You enlarged on the meaning of this in Your great Sermon on the Mount.  You said, if we love You, will keep your commandments.  You won me with Your love when I was a little child.  I do love You, Lord... and I want that love to be with my whole heart, soul and mind.  Amen.  


I’m livin’ under the spout where the glory comes out!

Sunday 3-6-16 (Colonia, Uruguay)     

Scripture reading for today:  Deut 3 - 4   Psalm 36   Mark 13

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ps 36:7-9 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!  Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.  They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.  For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. NKJV

O.  Lovingkindness: protection, satisfaction, pleasures, life and light... the psalmist sees all this included in God’s precious lovingkindness.

A.  My days and nights are filled with short prayers of thanks and appreciation for all these blessings.  I actually live in them every day of my life.  We used to say, “I’m under the spout where the glory comes out.”  What a generous God we serve!

P.  Father God, there may be difficult times, but I am never abandoned and alone.  Your Holy Spirit keeps the river of joy flowing even in the most trying times.  My praises rise up to You on this, the Lord’s Day.  You responded to my prayers with another great service last night.  My confidence is in You and You alone as I stand to minister this morning here in Colonia, Uruguay and again tonight.  Let Your lovingkindness cause me to fully trust You.  Let Your fountain of Life and Light flow like a river over these congregations today.  Amen.


May I not ‘Chicken Out!’

Saturday 3-5-16 (Colonia, Uruguay)     

Scripture reading for today:  Deut 1 - 2     Mark 12

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Deut 1:5-7 Moses began to explain this law, saying, "The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: 'You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey...

Vs 8 “See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers — to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob...” NKJV

O.  Moses is now aged and will soon die.  This book is made up of his final sermons to the Israelites.  He starts by recounting how 40 years earlier their fathers had been challenged by the Lord to cross the Jordan River and take possession.  But in spite of God’s many miracles which that generation had witnessed, their fathers ‘chickened out’ and God condemned them to die in the desert for their lack of faith... faith in His power to strengthen them. 

A.  Have I ever ‘chickened out’ when challenged by the Lord?  Without doubt, many times I have missed God’s beckoning to new victories.  I knew I could not do it.  I would fail.  But I needed to recall His miracles of the past and to step out in faith, not in my capabilities, but in His. 

My grandfathers on both sides were among the few that took great leaps of faith by leaving their homes in Kansas and Pennsylvania to conquer the wild west of Oregon on the Pacific Coast.  Many others chose to stay where they were and not risk such foolishness.  I think something of that spirit of daring was passed on to their children... and yes, even to us grandchildren.  From my adolescence I was always wanting to see what was on the other side of that mountain.  With my first car, a 1933 Oldsmobile, I took my friends on long rides into the unknown.  We had no destination.  We just wanted to go, see and conquer.  Perhaps this is one reason why I found our move to Costa Rica and then to Argentina a glorious challenge.  Of course this was different, for I knew God’s Holy Spirit was calling us: “Turn and take your journey...”  “See, I have set the land before you...”

P.  Dear Lord Jesus, here I am now in Uruguay.  I seem to keep hearing You calling me again and again to “GO.” Your challenge remains, “Go into all the world and make disciples...”  Your words were not a suggestion, but... at least for me... they were a command.  The first generation of Israelites that left Egypt ‘chickened out’.  I pray for Your continued Holy Spirit guidance and for the courage to cross that ‘Jordan River’ and accept Your challenge, whatever it may be.  Amen.


Six Cities of Refuge

Friday  3-4-16 (Nueva Helvecia, Uruguay)     

Scripture reading for today:  Num. 34 – 36     Mark 11

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Num 35:10-11 When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there.  NKJV

O.  Moses is instructed by God to have the Israelites protect the innocent from a possible avenger.  He carefully spells out the difference between the case of “manslaughter” and “murder.”  Six “Cities of Refuge” will be setup in certain locations.  These would be safe sanctuaries for a person that accidentally kills another.

A.  A good friend of mine and I will never forget a tragedy which happened many years ago in Argentina.  One of our missionary families was driving on a long trip.  They slowed to go through a little town.  A little girl was riding her bike by the side of the road.  Suddenly she swerved right into the path of my friend’s car.  He stopped as quickly as possible, but it was too late.  The little girl was taken to the hospital, but apparently was already dead.  Thus began a very difficult period in the lives of this missionary couple.  Potential law suites and even imprisonment were possible under the laws of Argentina.  Worst of all... was just knowing that their car, under their control had been the instrument of death to a precious little girl.  It took several years to finally clear them of all fault, but in the meantime they suffered along with the parents of the child.

P.  Lord, we do not know why such tragedies are allowed to happen.  We often wish that we could turn back the clock and do it all over, avoiding the accident.  But Your “Citiies of Refuge” show us Your concern for those who fall into these difficult circumstances with no intention to harm.  And they point us, not to a god of vengeance, but to a God of justice and comfort.  I pray for Your hand upon me as I travel dangerous highways day after day.  My missionary friends and I never want to cause anyone harm.  We just want the privilege of blessing them with Your message of Divine Love.  Amen.


Far More Rewarding than Applause

Thursday  3-3-16 (Mercedes, Uruguay)     

Scripture reading for today:  Num. 33 – 33     Mark 10

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Mark 10:13-16 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."  And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.  NKJV

O.  This is one of the most tender and loving scenes during the ministry of Jesus.  Our Lord could take a whip and drive out the thieves that were buying and selling in God’s temple or He could express His concern for the well-being of these little ones.  He looked into their bright eyes and saw their hearts filled with possibilities of great things.  Soon they would be youth, and young fathers and mothers.  He lifted them into his arms and blessed them.

A.  God has giving me this same concern and love for these little ones.  Kids are not surprised about anything these days.  On TV they see dogs, cats and other animals speak.  But God has equipped me uniquely with my little friends, Perfume and Felipe.  Felipe does not just entertain.  He takes notice of the cute little boys and girls.  He wants to be like them and tells his stories and sings for them.  After the church service has ended I am often delighted to have little children come running to me to hug my legs and not let go... or they thrown themselves into my arms.  This spontaneous act is worth far more than applause.  Now as the decades pass, many of these children have become parents.  They often make a special effort to bring their children to see Felipe... just like they did when they were children. 

P.  Lord, I cannot peer into their hearts or see into their future as you can.  I can only look into those bright, innocent eyes and see faith, hope and love... all waiting to be developed into a wholesome Christian life.  Today I pray for the millions of little children on every continent that are being raised by parents who know nothing of Your great love.  Jesus, please equip someone and send him or her to reach these lost ones with Your Good News.  Conquer them with Your tender love just as You did for me 79 years ago.  Amen.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

She had been screaming for four days and nights.

Wednesday  3-2-16 (Mercedes, Uruguay)   
Scripture reading for today:  Num. 30 – 31     Mark 

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Mark 9:24-27 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!"  Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.  NKJV

O.  Jesus with three of his disciples had just descended from the Mount of Transfiguration where God the Father’s voice declared, “This is my Beloved Son, hear Him!” Now the enemy of the souls of men was baffling the other disciples as he tortured a poor demonized little boy.

A.  Missionary Paul Brannan was visiting us, ministering in our new little church we were trying to plant in San Juan, Argentina.  After church a lady asked to visit a sick neighbor lady.  As we drove out into the countryside she described to us that this lady had been tormented and screaming for four days.  I stopped the car on the country gravel road.  We knew this was a case of demon possession.  We had just come from a blessed service... now the devil’s cohorts were waiting for us.  We prayed in the car until we had the victory... then drove on.  As we drove up people and barking dogs rushed to greet us.  People were yelling, “Hurry!  She is dying!”   We found the demon possessed lady in a small patio, on her feet, thrashing about and held up by her neighbors that surrounded her.  She was screaming words about seeing a dark figure.  I insisted that we seat her in a chair.  Her adult sons forced her into a chair.  As Paul Brannan and I reached out to this screaming woman, Paul said into my ear, “You pray in Spanish and I’ll pray in English!”  We cast out the demon in the name of Jesus.  The woman went silent and limp.  Her son, yelled, “She is dead!” and reached to try to find her pulse.  

I took the opportunity to speak to these neighbors.  “She is not dead.  She is just exhausted after fighting Satanic forces for four days and nights.”  I pointed to a small crucifix hanging on the wall.  “Jesus is not a little statue on a cross.  He is alive and more powerful than all the demons of hell.”  As I preached a brief message I watched a man in the crowd with a cigarette in his mouth.  It sat on his lower lip as he listened with his mouth open.  I watched the cigarette fall on the floor and he didn’t even seem to notice.  The liberated lady now woke up.  I sent a young man that had come with us to my car to bring my accordion.  We began to sing praises to the Lord... and prayed with these neighbors to receive the liberating Christ.  It was after midnight when we went out to leave.  We were getting into our car when a vehicle came roaring up and stopped.  One of this lady’s sons had gone earlier to bring the priest for “last rites” since they thought she would die.  The priest stepped out of the car.  His face seemed white with fear.  As we got into the car, Paul Brannan commented, “Just like them!  Too late with too little!”

P.  Lord, I thank You that You are never too late with too little.  You are more powerful than all the armies of Satan.  Jesus, You set a little boy free from the enemy’s torments and You have not changed over the centuries! 

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!  Praise Him all creatures here below.  Praise Him above you heavenly hosts.  Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!  Amen.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Without Blemish

Tuesday  3-1-16 (Fray Bentos, Uruguay)     

Scripture reading for today:  Num. 28 – 29     Mark  8

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Ex 12:5  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

Num 28:19 Be sure they are without blemish.

1 Peter 1:18-19 were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  NKJV

O.  My Old Testament reading today was from Numbers 28 and 29 in which detailed instructions are given to the Israeli priests about making sacrifices to the Lord.  Fifteen times in these two chapters alone the requirement is made... the sacrificed animal must be “without blemish.”  Then the New Testament shows us that all these strict rules requiring perfection were symbols looking forward to the day when God would supply His Son... without blemish... without even the shadow of sin... as the Perfect Sacrifice to take the punishment that we deserved.

A.  As I gaze upon God’s perfect sacrifice, without blemish... I am made aware again of my own blemished heart which seems determined to have a bent toward sin.  I am certainly a son of Adam.  He passed his sinful nature on to all of us, his descendants.

P.  But You, Father God, have redeemed me from the miry pits of sin to set my feet on Your solid ground.  This morning once again, I thank You for sending Your Sacrifice to make a Way for me to come into Your presence not only some day in the distant future, but today.  Yes, today I am basking in the comfort of Your company, not because I could ever be good enough, but because of Your Lamb, The Lamb of God sacrificed on the cruel cross... “without blemish”.  I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  Amen.



Monday  2-29-16 (Dolores, Uruguay)     

Scripture reading for today:    Isaiah 61 (No chart for 2/29)

S=Scripture  O=Observation  A=Application  P=Prayer  SOAP for the soul.

S.  Isaiah 61:10  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  NKJV

O.  What wonderful truths are expressed by this verse!  What joy!  What comfort! For although I was an unworthy sinner, God saw my repentant heart and chose to cover me with a robe of righteousness provided by the sacrifice of His only begotten Son!  And this robe is available to any and all of us for the asking.

Today is the only day of the year that there is no scripture reading suggested by our chart provided by Wayne Cordeiro’s book “The Divine Mentor” since February 29 only comes around every 4th year.  So this morning I asked the Lord to lead me to some meaningful text.  I opened my Spanish Bible and I immediately my eyes fell on these words “manto de justicia” “robe of righteousness”.  My heart said, “This is it!”  Why am I so filled with joy as I wake up on a Monday morning... again with only 5 hours of sleep... after two wonderful services yesterday in Nueva Palmira and Dolores?  It is because I am “covered”.  Hallelujah!

P.  I am not here to brag about my useless accomplishments.  I am here before You, my God, my Father, to thank You once again for Your marvelous generosity displayed for me... and for very wayward person on this planet.  Your gift of the garments of salvation... that cost You the death of Your Perfect Son... are there just waiting for us to repent and let you “cover us.”  Somewhere many years ago as I was ministering in a tent crusade I came across a delightful chorus and translated it into Spanish (below)... and preached its message that night.  Oh!  Lord God of heaven... What a blessing to be “covered with Your Son’s robe of righteousness!” Amen.



I am covered over with the robe of Righteousness that
Jesus gives to me, gives to me.
I am covered over with the precious blood of Jesus
And He lives in me, lives in me.
What a joy it is to know my Heavenly Father loves me so,
He gives to me, My Jesus.
When He looks at me he sees not what I used to be, but
He sees Jesus, Jesus.

Yo estoy cubierto con el manto de justicia
Que Jesús me dio, Jesús me dio.
Yo estoy cubierto con su sangre preciosa
Que Jesús vertió, Jesús vertió
Oh! ¡Que gozo es saber que el Padre celestial me ama
Y me dio a Cristo.
Cuando Él me mira, Él no ve lo que yo era,
Sino a Cristo, Cristo.